INSTITUTO QUIMICA Y METABOLISMO DEL FARMACO
Unidad Ejecutora - UE
capítulos de libros
South American Ilex raw materials for regional infusions: advanced arboreal crop systems versus wild forest extractive production.
GIBERTI, G. C.
Multidisciplinary Approaches on Food Science and Nutrition
Lugar: Kerala, India; Año: 2011; p. 17 - 27
The well known South American regional habit to consume caffeine-containing yerba mate, erva mate, maté or Paraguay tea water infusions varies its manufacture raw materials requirements according to final product consumer demands, fashions and traditions in the six countries where the use of this beverage is current (Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Paraguay and Uruguay). In these countries, a majority, and also an accepted opinion in their legislation, is that true yerba mate is industrially prepared using leaves and twigs from a tree belonging to the holly family (Aquifoliaceae), Ilex paraguariensis A. St. Hil, a native species from Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay. It is only cultivated or harvested from wild environments in the first 3 countries. Additionally, several other co-generic and even not taxonomically related species have been historically used to substitute and/or to adulterate genuine I. paraguariensis, even up to about 20 years ago. Although legislation exists in these countries to prevent such situation, in some of them specially in those whose production heavily relies on the harvest of wild yerba mate individuals instead of I. paraguariensis plantations-, traditional use of co-generical alternatives to Ilex paraguariensis has been tolerated. Reasons for this last situation, to a certain degree, are due to I. paraguariensis own biological and environmental requirements. These involve an intrinsic phenotypic heterogeneity (it is a dioecious tree) with a difficult cultivation procedure mainly due to its recalcitrant seeds that make germination rates very low- , and this tree´s original habit, in the (historically) difficult-to-access wild forests of the South American hinterlands. On the other hand, different production conditions and requirements of the yerba mate industrial elaboration and trade systems in all these countries, have arisen sometimes complicated internal legislation systems, not always compatible among themselves, and as a conclusion, protectionism has influenced both international and even intra-national trade of raw materials and the product itself. In such context, evolution of this crop technology has been slow and it has even made difficult some rational studies and technical developments about the main crop plant and some related taxa which could exhibit interesting alternatives of production. An up to date consideration of some of these issues follows.